The Decaying Empire
by Laura Thalassa
(The Vanishing Girl, #2)
Skyscape (Amazon Children’s Publishing)
April 21st, 2015
Source: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration. This in no way affects my review; all opinions are my own. Thank you, Skyscape and Amazon Children’s Publishing!
When eighteen-year-old teleporter Ember Pierce wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, she remembers only the basics: she’s been trained by the government as a spy, she’s sent on dangerous missions, and her last assignment—the one that landed her in the hospital—was a setup.
Caden Hawthorne has spent the past ten months of his life grieving Ember’s death. So when she shows up in his room like an apparition, he can’t believe his eyes. But this Ember is different. Her hair is longer, her skin is paler, her gaze is haunted. She tells him what he’s already begun to suspect: someone he trusted betrayed her.
Now, uncertain who is friend and who is foe, Ember and Caden face the toughest mission of their lives—to stay together and survive, as they run from danger toward an unknown future.
I have a bunch of books for review that I need to read ASAP. But when I got The Decaying Empire from NetGalley, I knew I’d end up reading it almost right away. To hell with the reading schedule I’ve been trying to keep — when there’s a book you’re dying to read and you know you’re going to love, you have got to read it! I was so pleasantly surprised by the first book in the series, The Vanishing Girl. It was my first foray into the New Adult genre, and one of the first books I got through NetGalley. After finishing it I was absolutely enraged that I couldn’t keep reading the story. So when I saw the sequel I just had to snatch it up. Now that that’s all off my chest… let me say that I loved The Decaying Empire. I couldn’t stop reading it. I started it at 1:00AM and kept going until about 4:00AM (because what is sleep?). When I woke up in the late morning, I finished the last third of the book. Book 2 doesn’t end on nearly as giant a cliffhanger book 1 did, but I’m still eagerly awaiting the third and final book.
Let’s briefly recap. The series is about Ember, a girl with a teleportation gene who is being used by the U.S. government to conduct espionage. (She’s a spy. And being a spy is not as cool as you’d think.) She meets another teleporter, Caden, and the two work missions, discover secrets, cheat death, and fall in love. After the absolute craziness in book 1, book 2 picks up ten months later. Ember’s woken from a coma and Caden finally learns that she’s not dead. (Hallelujah!) But Ember’s different, damaged. She’s been betrayed, she’s been hurt, and she’s absolutely finished with working for the people who have been controlling her. She’s one fierce chick in The Decaying Empire, but still sympathetic and a flawed human being I was continually rooting for. Caden was also awesome. I loved him so much in this book, and I loved him a lot in the first book, too. Losing Ember, the love of his life, took a toll on him as well, and when she comes back from the dead, he questions everything he’s ever believed. He won’t lose her again. He’ll follow her to the ends of the earth just so they won’t be separated. Even though his emotional armor seems unbreakable, Caden shows instances of fragility and fear. Where in the first book he was cocky, needy, and obedient toward his superiors, here he is much more serious and protective, and he doesn’t give a damn about following orders if he doesn’t like them. He and Ember both have their lovely banter, joking and flirting and being sarcastic teens, as well as their tragic and perfect romance. The two are running from danger for the entire book, and the only times they ever feel safe are when it’s just them, alone.
The Decaying Empire doesn’t move the series’ overall plot along as much as the first book did. It mostly deals with Ember and Caden’s deepening relationship and their wild escapes, captures, and life on the run. There’s still a lot of mystery to the whole series that isn’t really elaborated on, but the book’s ending definitely sets the third and final book up for the big conclusion when everything is finally revealed. I didn’t mind the lack of overall plot progress because Ember and Caden’s insanely dangerous and tense adventures were definitely enough to keep me occupied. It’s just now that I’m thinking about everything that I’m realizing this book was sort of the build-up to the final act. I still loved it, though. I think I liked The Decaying Empire more than The Vanishing Girl. And, to go on a slight tangent, I was very scared that in this book there’d be a love triangle introduced. While it’s obvious Guy #2 has feelings for Ember, it’s obvious Ember’s picked her man — Caden — and we need not worry. Guy #2 has nothing on Caden, so I’m not worrying at all.
To sum it up, I loved The Decaying Empire. It was fast-paced and action-packed, full of danger and tension, and was a wicked emotional journey for me and our two seemingly doomed protagonists. I am such a fan of Laura Thalassa and I want book 3 to come out ASAP. I highly recommend this series if you like heart-pounding romance (just know it’s New Adult for a reason, guys) and blood-pumping thriller-like sequences. ♦
So tell me…
Have you read The Decaying Empire (or, more likely, The Vanishing Girl)? Have you read any of Laura Thalassa’s other books? (I’ve got the first book in her Young adult series, The Unearthly, on my Kindle app to read one of these days.) Have you read any books about teleportation before? Comment below letting me know! And, as always, happy reading!